Dove Cottage – The Wordsworth Museum :
Dove Cottage was built in the early 17th Century and for over 170 years was an inn called the ‘Dove and Olive’. It closed in 1793, and in 1799 Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved in. In 1802 after her marriage to William, Mary Hutchinson arrived. Their three oldest children were born at Dove Cottage – John in 1803, Dora in 1804 and Thomas in 1806. Mary’s sister Sara Hutchinson and William’s friend Thomas De Quincey also lived here.
The Wordsworths had many visitors to Dove Cottage – Walter Scott, Thomas De Quincey, Charles and Mary Lamb, Robert Southey and most of all Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth’s growing family and the many visitors meant that Dove Cottage became too small, and in May 1808 they moved to Allan Bank in Grasmere.
Like many buildings in the Lake District, Dove Cottage is made from local stone with white, limewashed walls to keep out the damp. The roof has slate tiles, and the chimneys have arrangements of slates on them to help prevent smoke blowing back down. The downstairs rooms all have slate floors. The downstairs rooms you may visit are the general living room, kitchen and buttery, while upstairs you may visit Dorothy’s bedroom, William’s study, the guest bedroom and the children’s bedroom. A guide takes you on a 20 minute tour of the house explaining the contents of note in each room. You are then free to wander round the house at your leisure.
Much of the Wordsworth’s life at Dove Cottage was centred around the garden and orchard, and William and Dorothy put much work into making it they way they wanted it. If weather permits, you may look at the garden. A leaflet is available which describes the features of the garden.
The Wordsworth Trust was founded in 1891 to secure Dove Cottage. The Trustees have built an award-winning museum, opened in 1981, which together with the Wordsworth Library houses what is one of the greatest collections of manuscripts, books and paintings relating to British Romanticism.
The Jerwood Centre was completed in 2004 as a secure, long-term home for the Museum’s great collection. It has outstanding facilities for research and conservation. Its Reading Room contains a major Romantic library featuring many rare first editions.
Dove Cottage tea rooms provide vegetarian meals and snacks throughout the day made from high-quality local produce. Evening meals are available during high season. There is an excellent shop selling books, gifts and crafts relating to English literature and the Lake District.
See also entry for Wordsworth House – Cockermouth, and Rydal Mount – Grasmere.
Related Links :
- www.wordsworth.org.uk – official website
Grid Ref : SD 343069
Grasmere, Cumbria. LA22 9SH. Tel: 015394 35544